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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Award-winning Photography by Megan & Mia Rigsby

Daughters Follow in Father's Footsteps

By Angela Wampler | A! Magazine for the Arts | April 26, 2011

A father's love of nature and his passion for documenting life with a camera is now developing in his children.

Ten-year-old Mia Rigsby is in the fifth grade at Rock Spring Elementary. She says, "I love nature and the outdoors and hanging out with Dad. After he let me use his camera, that's when I started to love photography. As long as he has a camera, I guess I will, too. Besides a Nikon D40, I have a Canon point-and-shoot that I use sometimes. And Dad taught me a little bit of Photoshop. I also love to draw. Cartoon characters are my favorite, especially Sonic the Hedgehog."

Fourteen-year-old Megan Rigsby — "I'm almost 15, so I'll be driving soon" — is a freshman at Sullivan South High School and the youngest active member of the Eastman Camera Club. "I got involved in the club because my dad is the vice president and will step up to president this year. I'm always going to meetings and outings with him and found photography to be more and more interesting as I got more involved. I love anything that deals with nature. I also enjoy shooting weddings with Dad. He is my inspiration. He's an exceptional photographer, father, teacher, and friend."

Jim Rigsby, father of Mia and Megan, is an associate lab technician in the Electronic Chemicals group at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn. He started shooting pictures when he was about 17 or 18 years old. However, through the years, as his interests and priorities changed, he would lay down his camera for a while.

"My passion changed when I bought my first Nikon D70 SLR in 2007 and joined the Eastman Camera Club. I now have a Nikon D70 and a D300, and I bought my daughters a D40 to shoot," he says. "I found it was an outlet to get off the couch and get back outside. As a result, we spend more time together, and our family bond has grown stronger because of a passion we all share. My wife Christy has no desire to shoot a camera, but she enjoys the quality time, too."

Jim has entered a number of local competitions and won several awards, so he has encouraged his daughters to follow in his footsteps. He has mentored his daughters well. Both Megan and Mia have also won several awards for their photography.

Mia says, "Dad said I had a 'good eye' and that I should enter a few pictures to see if I would win, and I did! I picked out a few that I liked, and then Dad and I talked about them. He kind of knows which could place and he tells me why. Maybe it's not in focus or too grainy."

Mia placed first in the youth category in Kingsport's Harvest Festival photo contest last fall and was in the running for Best of Show with her image "Behind the Old Shed." That same picture placed second in the Eastman youth competition, and her "Timeless Lock" placed third.

Megan has won several awards in various competitions, including first place in the amateur division (beating out several adults) with "White Trillium" at the Appalachian Senior Salon in Kingsport. Her "Caught in Flight" took first in both Kingsport's Railgrass competition and in Eastman's youth contest.

Megan uses Jim's Nikon D70 and the D40. She has taken basic photography workshops offered by the Camera Club, visual art classes at school, and some Photoshop instruction from her father.

Will their plans for the future include photography?

Mia says, "It may. I want to be a marine biologist. I think it would be cool to buy an underwater camera and photograph the world under the ocean."

Megan wants to do something in forensic science but says, "Photography will always be a part of my life, whether as a hobby or helping Dad shoot a wedding."

Megan and Mia frequently participate when the Eastman Camera Club schedules a local outing each month, weather permitting. This year the Rigsby family plans to accompany the Camera Club to visit Cade's Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains; Laurel Run Park in Church Hill, Tenn.; Little Stoney Falls near Dungannon, Va.; the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Grayson Highlands State Park near Marion, Va.; and the Hensley Settlement, part of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Harlan County, Ky.

The Camera Club also books two big outings each year. Last fall they attended a workshop led by nature photographer Lori Kincade at her home in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest. Recently Megan, Mia and their father spent four days with the Camera Club in the Charleston, S.C. area, photographing sites such as the U.S.S. Yorktown, Fort Moultrie, Morris Lighthouse, Folly Beach, McLeod Plantation, and the famous Angel Oak.

Jim says, "Most of the outings are fairly easy to travel and hike, so they can be family-oriented. My daughters attend when they find a particular outing to be interesting. We would like to extend the club out to youth and a younger group of photographers. Anyone can join whether they are adult or youth, Eastman employee or not."

For information about joining the club, call 423-229-5771.

Megan Rigsby

Mia Rigsby

"Broken Windows" by Megan Rigsby

"Behind the Old Shed" by Mia Rigsby

"Three Crosses — Urban Style" by Megan Rigsby

"Morning Glow" by Mia Rigsby

"Country Road" by Megan Rigsby

"Timeless Lock" by Mia Rigsby

"Autumn Bench" by Megan Rigsby

"Longhorn" by Mia Rigsby

"Burkes Beauty" by Megan Rigsby

"Stairs" by Mia Rigsby

"Caught in Flight" by Megan Rigsby

"Bottom of High Falls" by Megan Rigsby